A structured psychiatric intervention for cancer patients. II. Changes over time in immunological measures

Arch Gen Psychiatry. 1990 Aug;47(8):729-35. doi: 10.1001/archpsyc.1990.01810200037005.


We evaluated the immediate and long-term effects on immune function measures of a 6-week structure psychiatric group intervention for patients with malignant melanoma. Along with a reduction in levels of psychological distress and greater use of active coping methods, the following immune changes were seen at the 6-month assessment point in the intervention-group patients (n = 35) compared with controls (n = 26): significant increases in the percent of large granular lymphocytes (defined as CD57 with Leu-7) and natural killer (NK) cells (defined as CD16 with Leu-11 and CD56 with NKH1) along with indications of increase in NK cytotoxic activity; and a small decrease in the percent of CD4 (helper/inducer) T cells. At the 6-week follow-up point, the majority of these changes were not yet observable. The results indicate that a short-term psychiatric group intervention in patients with malignant melanoma with a good prognosis was associated with longer-term changes in affective state, coping, and the NK lymphoid cell system. Affective rather than coping measures showed some significant correlations with immune cell changes.

Publication types

  • Clinical Trial
  • Randomized Controlled Trial
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adaptation, Psychological
  • Cytotoxicity, Immunologic
  • Humans
  • Killer Cells, Natural / immunology
  • Leukocyte Count
  • Lymphocytes / immunology*
  • Melanoma / immunology
  • Melanoma / psychology
  • Melanoma / surgery
  • Mood Disorders / immunology
  • Mood Disorders / psychology
  • Mood Disorders / therapy*
  • Neoplasms / immunology
  • Neoplasms / psychology*
  • Neoplasms / surgery
  • Prognosis
  • Psychotherapy, Brief
  • Psychotherapy, Group*
  • T-Lymphocytes, Helper-Inducer / immunology